There were cheers as the remaining staff walked through the gates in Belfast at 9am.
It followed a nine-week campaign which saw a worker-led round-the-clock occupation of the historic site – where Titanic was built – after it was placed into administration over the summer.
Workers claimed victory earlier this week when it was announced that a buyer had been found.
Harland and Wolff has been bought for £6 million by InfraStrata, a London-based company that specialises in energy infrastructure projects.
Steel worker and GMB shop steward Barry Reid described Thursday morning at the shipyard gates as “the day we prayed would come”.
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Shipyard Harland & Wolff has taken a step closer to survival with confirmation that the consortium to which it belongs has been awarded a £1.25bn contract to build new warships.
As the News Letter reports, East Belfast MP Gavin Robinson described the decision – giving the green light for the Babcock-led consortium to build the Type 31e Royal Navy frigates – as a “boon” for the Belfast shipyard and said it was “hugely encouraging”.
The news come as Belfast Harbour launched a strategic plan to invest £254 million in new infrastructure which will help generate 7,000 new jobs.
The development at Harland & Wolff is a vital lifeline for a company that went into administration just over a month ago.
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A formal legal process to place Harland and Wolff into administration will be completed later today.
As the BBC News reports an insolvency request is expected to be filed at the High Court in Belfast.
On Monday, the company announced that accountancy firm BDO had been appointed administrators to the Belfast shipyard.
Having employed more than 30,000 at its peak, the move could now put 120 jobs at risk and spell the end of the iconic firm, best known for building the Titanic.
Unions representing workers have called for the shipyard to be renationalised, arguing it would be cheaper for the government to keep the shipyard open.
However, the government has said the crisis is "ultimately a commercial issue".
An emergency meeting is to be held by Belfast Council on Friday in a bid to help save the historic Harland and Wolff shipyard from closure.
The meeting writes Belfast Telegraph has been called by SDLP councillor Brian Heading and Green party councillor Anthony Flynn and will take place at City Hall at 1.30pm.
They have tabled a motion which would see the council convene an urgent forum between Trade Unions, Invest NI, the Department for the Economy and the UK Government to secure the future of the shipyard.
Administrators are set to be appointed at Harland and Wolff on Monday.
Since the news was announced members of the shipyard's 130 staff have protested at the gates in Belfast docks, calling for an intervention to save it from closure.
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BBC News reports that the UK government has said that the crisis at the Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast is "ultimately a commercial issue".
Unions say the yard is at imminent risk of closure and have called for it to be nationalised.
A government spokesperson said there was "every sympathy for the workers". They added that the government will "do all it can" to offer support.
It is understood administrators are now expected to arrive on Monday.
The firm's Norwegian parent company Dolphin Drilling is having serious financial problems and put Harland and Wolff up for sale late last year.
There were exclusive negotiations with a potential buyer but they cooled in the last two weeks.
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They have demanded Boris Johnson's government renationalise the yard and saves their jobs.
The protest began on Monday afternoon and has continued into the night.
The Unite union said workers decided to take this action ahead of the expected arrival of administrators on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the Norwegian parent company of Harland and Wolff said the company had no comment to make at this stage.
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Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast reports BBC News, can only survive until the end of the month without a deal, Unite the Union has said.
The business has been up for sale amid serious financial problems at its Norwegian parent company.
Trade unions have been hoping that the yard could benefit from plans to build more Royal Navy ships in the UK.
But now fear there is a risk that it will not survive for long enough to participate in that.
Susan Fitzgerald, the regional coordinating officer with the Unite trade union told BBC News NI's Evening Extra programme that if the yard the government needs to step in.
The yard employs around 130 people and specialises in wind energy and marine engineering projects.
It is also part of two consortia which are bidding for work on the Navy's new Type 31e frigate.
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Accountants have been sent in to carry out the work to establish the asking price of Harland & Wolff Heavy Industries Ltd, which is to be sold as part of restructuring by Norwegian parent company Fred Olsen Energy.
Harland & Wolff covers two sites on Queen's Island in east Belfast, including the Belfast Repair Dock where some ship work is still carried out, including the current refit of some Stena Line ferries.
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#ferries - Work has begun on ferries from Stena Line which involves a £5 million refit programme of its local fleet at Belfast's Harland & Wolff shipyard.
The 10-week upgrade schedule reports the Irish News, will see five Stena vessels dry docked consecutively to facilitate refurbishment and maintenance works.
The move continues the carrier's long-standing relationship with H&W, and will represent a considerable boost to the supply chain.
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#BelfastLough - Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast, must be maintained for industrial use and not sold off to property developers, Lord Empey has said.
As The Belfast Telegraph writes, the former UUP leader was speaking after it emerged last week that the historic Belfast company was up for sale as its Norwegian parent company Fred Olsen carries out a major restructuring.
The former shipbuilder behind the Titanic has diversified into renewable energy installations since the last ship sailed out of its famous yard in 2003.
The decline of shipbuilding has also been marked by a steady fall in employee numbers from as many as 30,000 in the 1930s to around 100 today.
Harland and Wolff covers two sites on Queen's Island in east Belfast, including the Belfast Repair Dock where some ship work is still carried out.
There is also the main building dock and manufacturing halls where the famous Samson and Goliath gantry cranes operate.
The combined surface area of the sites is nearly 90 acres.
Former Northern Ireland Enterprise Minister Lord Empey has said that he fears the site may now fall into the hands of property developers.
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